RE: Typographical treatment of GUI components

Subject: RE: Typographical treatment of GUI components
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- net -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 09:08:52 +1000

> If most of the items in the procedure are steps

All of the items in a procedure should be steps.

> and most of those steps contain multiple menu items
> and menu names, then the point stands: there is so
> much bold that any particular bold item doesn't
> really stand out.

A properly written step is not going to contain
more than a very small number of objects to be
acted upon. Normally two, I'd guess, and occasionally
slightly more if the step combines multiple actions
("From the _File_ menu, choose _Print_, and then click
_OK_" for example).

If those objects to be acted on (File>Print>OK) are
bolded or otherwise distinguished, it facilitates
the transfer of information from the page to my
eye to my hands. I have to do less looking back
and forth between the text and the screen.

> > > Finally, the bolding
> > > often means that users will skip over often important
> > > explanatory text and just pick out the bold items.

If that happens, something is wrong with the way
the procedure is written.

I think this is something that Microsoft
has right in most their Help files, and I'm
sure it is based on usability testing.
Mike West
Melbourne, Australia


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